From 2017 to 2019, I was lucky enough to come to Japan as an ALT on the JET Programme. For two years, I lived and worked in the beautiful Yamagata prefecture, enjoying cherries in the summer and snow monsters in the winter. When my contract came to an end, I knew I wanted to stay in Japan. As a JET, that meant that I had access to the JET Career Fair. Held once a year in Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka, this career fair features more than 100 companies from various industries, all looking to hire foreign talent. It was at that career fair that I was fortunate enough to meet Tecdia. After talking to the staff, hearing the presentations and even talking to the CEO, my heart was set on joining the company! I was lucky enough to receive an offer, and joined Tecdia in September 2019.
Of course, this is the perfect ending to any career fair story, so I’d like to share my advice with you so that you too can do your best!
Most (if not all) career fairs will list the companies that will be joining the fair on the website or promotional material beforehand. Read through the information and make note of the companies that interest you. See if they have listed any requirements and check how your own qualifications compare. Of course, there’s no harm in taking note of the companies that you really like, even if you don’t have everything they are looking for!
Use the weeks leading up to the event to research into the companies that you took note of beforehand. Look at any information you can find, from their official webpages and social media accounts, to unofficial sources like Glassdoor. See what you can find out about their current projects and areas of focus, as well as areas of future growth. Look at the company culture as well – does it seem like a place you want to work? Use this information to cut down on the companies you listed, or at least prioritize them. You can also use this list to plan your route through the career fair hall, if a map has been provided. If not, you’ll at least have a list to start from when you arrive.
必要な服装やアクセサリーも持っておいたほうがよいでしょう。洗練された見た目も大切なので、ちゃんと自分に合っているスーツを準備しておきましょう。もちろん、高くなくても大丈夫ですが、タイピン、時計、ヘアピンなどがきれいでエレガントであるのも確かめましょう。 もう一つのコツですが、持ちやすいA4サイズのかばんを持参しておくとよいでしょう。 そうすれば、資料を全部きれいに保管できます。会場では、パンフレットなどをもらうので、資料を入れる場所になります。キャリアフェアは普段かなりにぎやかなイベントなので、思いブリーフケースを持てば邪魔になり、疲れるでしょう。 シンプルなキャンバストートバッグはちょうどよい軽さでしょう。しっかり準備しておくと見た目も良く、会う人としっかり握手できるでしょう。
Going to a career fair, you want to have all your documents ready. Update and polish your resumes in the formats that are most accepted. For example, in Japan that usually means a rirekisho, but foreign companies may expect a foreign-style resume or CV. Follow online style guidelines to make clear, attractive documents that contain all the necessary information. You will also want to ensure you have all the necessary clothes and accessories. You want to look polished and professional, so ensure you have a suit, and that it fits well. Of course, it doesn’t have to be expensive! Just make sure any accessories (such as your tie pin, watch, or hair clips) are also neat and classy. My extra tip here is: make sure you have an A4 sized bag you can carry around the venue. You can keep all your documents neatly stored. It will also give you somewhere to put information you receive (such as brochures). Most career fairs are very busy, so lugging a heavy briefcase will tire you out and get in the way. Something simple, like a plain canvas tote bag, will be small light enough to carry on your shoulder. You’ll look prepared, and you’ll have your hands free to shake hands with the people you meet.
If you haven’t had a lot of experience in job hunting, it’s a good idea to practice some basics before you go, such as a succinct self introduction that covers your qualifications and experiences. Some career fairs will have spaces for interviews, and you may be asked to have one right there on the spot – I was! Just in case, practice answers to common interview questions, either in a mirror or with a trusted friend or mentor. Remember, you want your answers to be thoughtful and honest, as well as confident. Reading example answers from the internet can help you with the language and style of answering, but don’t use them verbatim. Firstly, interviewers can tell if you are being honest, and secondly, they may not be looking for what you expect. So think carefully about how you can answer those questions to show your actual strengths.
And that’s it! The rest comes down to the day itself, but if you’ve followed my advice above, you’ll be able to stand out among the crowded halls at the career fair. Before the day itself, get a good night’s sleep, eat a good breakfast and pump yourself up with some of your favorite tunes. There are many companies at career fairs, so talk to as many on your list as you can. My last piece of advice – after each company, take a few minutes to write down a couple of notes. Include not only any instructions or advice they gave about applying, but also your impressions about the company itself, such as what you liked and were interested in, and also what didn’t match up to your expectations. It will help later when you have the time to go over all the information you gathered.
Career fairs are huge, busy events but they are worth the effort. It’s the best place to find many companies and opportunities under one roof!